Tuesday, August 30, 2005

August Heat

Our last Roughrider set of tickets was last week. We took Noah & my brother and had a great time, even with the heat. We left in the 10th inning of the 1st game. (turned out to be a double-header)

Tom and Noah In front of Ikea

Since it was the golden child's 2nd birthday, we bought all kinds of junk. He really liked this big hand.


And his 1st cotton candy!


Last week we also took some treats to daycare for his birthday as well. Here's the dynamic duo having some monkey bars. (frozen chocolate covered bananas)

Noah & Max Eating Monkey Bars

I think they liked 'em!


I leave you with a scowl!!!

Leave Me Alone!!!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

PC Problem Solved

I have been experiencing a recurring slowdown on my PC for about a year. Basically it would run fine for a while but then would just start dragging & was only usable for limited browsing. No photo editing was possible. It always seemed to happen following high memory or disk usage. I did all the virus scanning & spyware checking possible, ran process explorer & file monitor to look for something eating up cpu. Nothing found... reinstalled xp home... took the stupid thing to CompuRussia and even had them look at it. Then I bought & installed xp professional and it seemed to go away for a while. But it was just a dream now I see... it was all just temperature & timing. You see... summer was at an end when I bought XP professional.

Note: I had never taken a PC in for repair until that time. I cut my teeth in computers maintaining PCs, but I figured maybe it was just something new. They didn't figure out anything except how to charge me for excess labor. Turns out it was a new problem to me...

At lunch today I was explaining the issue to a couple of coworkers for the 10th time and Ben said it had to be either a driver or hardware related. (nice narrowing of the field, ha) I decided to assume he was right & started looking at the hardware. When I got home today, the PC was slow. I went to "My Computer" & clicked "View system information" to head to the device manager to review what was installed & see if anything was showing a conflict or trouble. Before I clicked off the main tab, I noticed that the reported CPU speed was only 836 Mhz!!! No wonder it was running slower. The CPU had been stepped down from its regular 1.67 Ghz speed.

Wonder what would cause a CPU to slow down like that? All I could come up with was temperature. I did some googling for "cpu temperature slowdown" and came up with this article. My cpu seems to fit that Athlon XP 1.33Ghz+ category & max out at 90°C. Recommendations are for 20°C less than the max temp, or 70°C.

To test my theory I rebooted my PC & verified it was at 1.67Ghz. I downloaded speedfan and measured the temp. Temp 2 was at 68°C, which was close enough to 70°C to keep me looking. I started up Norton (a past trigger of the problem) and also started opening images in Nikon Editor to suck up memory. To make things worse I started modifying the images rather randomly which always causes Nikon Editor problems... seems to keep a big ass undo buffer or something. As soon as it spiked to 70°C, the system began to crawl. It took a while, but I got the system properties open again & I was back at 836 Mhz.

I've since taken the cover off my PC & will probably add another fan somewhere eventually.

I hope this problem stays solved.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Chocolate Lover

The golden child partied with some chocolate last night. Lee Ann made frozen chocolate covered bananas for daycare treats this Wednesday for his birthday. (party this weekend) It's normal for her to make treats, but for this birthday so far she has made monkey-theme invitations & decorations, did a practice run of kids crafts for the party, and scheduled a maid for the day before the party. This is a new phase of Martha Stewart fever.

Chocolate Lover

The monkey invitations were based on this resized PDF version from the MS party planner. I won't tell you how much time I spent getting this the exact size she wanted. :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Garland Beer

Garland just started selling beer & wine in grocery and convenience stores. My 1st trip to Kroger in a while left me a happy man yesterday. Being from Houston, this dry-county/city crap threw me for a loop when I 1st moved here. This beer-o-plenty will take some getting used to.

Garland Beer

The missing 12-pack of Shiner Bock is in my cart just out of view. It's already being recycled so I will have to make another visit today.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Dexham Prairie

Recently I read that one of the last prairie remnants around the Rowlett area is scheduled for destruction starting in September 2005. This past Saturday & Sunday I rose with the sun & drove the 10 or so minutes to see for myself what we are losing. The prairie is around 75 acres with an additional 25 acres of marsh & flooded hardwoods. I didn't make it to the marsh this time, but hope to before it is destroyed. A view just after sun up.

Dexham Prairie

and another...

Dexham Prairie

The area seems to be used mainly for biking right now and the damage seemed to be concentrated around the trails as expected.

There were many different plants thriving...


and some wildflowers in bloom.

Yellow Flower

I think this is some kind of thistle.


And lots of birds... identifications coming later.


Look Down

In Motion

and more flowers...



More Yellow

It is sad that it is going to be gone so soon. By the time my son is old enough to understand this, the subdivision will be built out & animals long gone. All in the name of progress... right???

Friday, August 05, 2005

Rest In Peace Hunter Kelly

Poor little guy. I hate the Bills, but this is still sad.

Hunter Kelly 2/14/97 - 8/05/2005

I am from Houston. If you don't know why I hate the Bills, well... let's just say they have made me cry before.